Speculation that Stephen Donald will be leaving Bath for a return to New Zealand has been dismissed by the West Country club. Bath admit to having held a “frank conversation” with the Kiwi after a series of disappointing performances.

Donald was dropped for Bath’s trip to Sale last Friday after a particularly poor performance against Saints two weeks ago and this led to rumours that he would be leaving the club after less than a year at the Rec. Donald himself has been disappointed with his recent form and has requested a chance to play for Bath’s second string, Bath United, on Monday evening. Donald will find himself lining up against Somerset County Senior XV. The contrast with where Donald was Six months ago is massive. From a World Cup Final against France to a Monday night run out for Bath United against Somerset County.

Donald arrived at Bath after the World Cup in November. He had been named as standby fly half for the All Blacks in their campaign but after a string of injuries to fly halfs throughout the tournament he was called up and made his lone performance of the tournament as a replacement in the final. He impressed throughout the final and eventually kicked the winning penalty to secure the All Blacks their second World Cup triumph.

Donald began his Bath career in impressive fashion with a top quality performance against Montpellier but then struggled to find any consistency before a serious knee injury ruled him out for two months. He returned against Northampton two weeks ago but was clearly lacking form and fitness.

Donald’s absence against Sale was not expected and was understood to surprise even the Sale coaches. Bath’s fortunes did not improve in Donald’s absence and they were handed a defeat at the hands of Sale to more or less end their hopes of Heineken Cup qualification.